Stephen Ministers are Caregivers … God is the Cure Giver
The Stephen Ministry is a confidential, lay-caring ministry grounded in Jesus’ command to love one another. Those who are hurting receive love and support through one-to-one caring relationships. The ministry is named after Stephen, one of the first deacons in the early Christian church, commissioned by the apostles to care for the needs of people in the Christian community. Stephen Ministry was founded in St. Louis in 1975 by Kenneth Haugk, a Minister and Christian psychologist who recognized the need to extend the care that a Minister alone could provide. Millions of hurting individuals worldwide have since benefited from the ministrations of Stephen Ministers.
Stephen Ministry was initiated at Farragut Presbyterian Church in 2003 in response to a perceived need for extension of Pastoral care beyond what the ministers themselves could manage. It is dedicated to the memory of Nancy Lee Jameson Filston, R.N., M.Div. in recognition of her lifelong dedication of service as children’s oncology nurse, grief counselor, hospital chaplain and Minister of Word and Sacrament in the PCUSA. Funds donated in her memory from friends throughout the country were used to fund the Stephen Ministry program here.
Everyone goes through difficult times. Having someone to walk with, to care, to listen, to share God’s love is what Stephen Ministry is all about. Stephen Ministers provide this Christian care giving to the bereaved, hospitalized, terminally ill, separated, divorced, unemployed, relocated, and others facing a crisis or life challenge. Stephen Ministry helps Ministers enhance caring ministry by ensuring that quality follow-up care is available for as long as it is needed. In addition to the usual Stephen Minister duties, the Farragut Presbyterian Stephen Ministers also perform hospital visits on a weekly/regular basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need lay caregivers when there are Ministers, counselors, and other mental health professionals?
The need for professional care providers will always be required in certain situations; and, as part of their training, Stephen Ministers are taught to recognize and respect a possible need for referral. Professional Counselors have received special training in mental health and intervention. Stephen Ministers are equipped to listen, care, and spiritually “walk with” their care receivers. Since Stephen Ministers are caregivers, not counselors, they do not work in situations that require the skills of a trained helping professional. In some circumstances, Stephen Ministers will provide care to a person who is already involved with a professional, but only with that professional’s knowledge and permission
What Does a Stephen Minister Do?
What about confidentiality?
- Meets regularly with the care receiver.
- Prays with and for the care receiver.
- Listens carefully and intently.
- Acts as a sounding board.
- Provides feedback as the care receiver explores feelings and thoughts.
- Helps with direction to resources.
- Encourages and comforts.
- Accepts where the care receiver is on his/her journey.
Stephen Ministers are thoroughly trained to recognize and respect the importance of confidentiality and how to ensure it is maintained.
How do you know if a person would benefit from having a Stephen Minister?
Most people who are going through any difficult time in life and who do not need professional help (doctor, counselor, therapist) would most likely benefit from a relationship with a Stephen Minister.
How Can I Refer Someone to Stephen Ministry?
- Identify someone who is hurting and in need of Christian care (you, a friend, or a relative).
- You, a friend or relative contacts a Stephen Minister, Minister, or the church office about this need.
- The Stephen Ministry Referral Coordinator will meet with this person to talk about the Stephen Ministry program.
Our Stephen Minister Referral Coordinator is Elizabeth Wilson.
How Can I Become Involved?
- Pray daily for Stephen Ministry
- Make referrals to Stephen Ministry
- Inquire about becoming a Stephen Minister
Stephen Ministers and Leaders at Farragut Presbyterian Church
* FPC’s Stephen Leaders
Could you benefit from the confidential, one-to-one care and support of a Stephen Minister, or do you know someone – perhaps a friend, coworker, or relative – who would benefit from a Stephen Minister? Are you interested in possibly becoming a Stephen Minister? If so, then talk with a Minister or Stephen Leader or call the church office, (865) 966-9547 or firstname.lastname@example.org